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On disc: Redemption

The Origins Of Ruin - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
This Mortal Coil - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil
(InsideOut Music - 2011)

Redemption present their 5th studio album which means the band is releasing high quality releases every other year since their self-titled debut in 2003. This Mortal Coil is surely a special album for Redemption as it was written by Nick van Dyk after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and went got his treatment. And so the songs are darker, but also show his will to fight.

The opener Path Of The Whirlwind is a fast, heavy, guitar-driven track. The song has an aggressive edge and the backings are almost gang shouts, but then they head into a catchy, melodic passage, but then the anger is back. Blink Of An Eye is offering aggressive riffs next to Ray Alder's expressive vocals which show the doubts... The following No Tickets To The Funeral stands for his will to survive this and so the atmosphere changes. This Mortal Coil is documenting the stages Nick van Dyk went through after the diagnosis, but by now we know that so far it looks good, but only time will tell, if he won the fight. The compositions give everybody enough space to shine and on top Ray Alder's vocals. Musically it's a roller coaster ride, a very emotional journey with speed changes, catchy melodies and some progressive frenzy. So not too much changed... Check out Dreams From The Pit to get an idea. The balladesque Let It Rain is ennobled by Alder's slightly raspy voice. This is a touching tune! At Perfect they managed to add some great harmony vocals without changing the songs atmosphere. Begin Again has a light, airy edge as well as slight melancholy touch - a sophisticated piece of music which shows the different emotions one has to go through. The powerful Stronger Than Death is a statement- and an enchanting one! It's one of my favorites of This Mortal Coil, but there isn't one weak track! The closer Departure Of The Pale Horse is more then 10 minutes long - and another highlight.

A very intensive album and a real masterpiece! Perhaps because it was written during a time in Nick van Dyk's life which was very emotional... Anyway, it won't be easy to top this album! Kudos!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


The Origins Of Ruin

The Origins Of Ruin
(InsideOut Music - 2007)

Redemption is the band of guitarist / keyboarder and songwriter Nick van Dyk and was started in late 2000. It seemed that van Dyk tried to gather an all-star-project - especially as the line-up changed a few times - but this it their 3rd album and it seems they became a band. Still most metal fans will only know Ray Alder (Fates Warning, Engine) and Agent Steel guitarist Bernie Versailles, but soon Chris Quirarte and Sean Andrews will be known.

Musically they mix prog metal with power metal and add irresistible melodies and harmonies. They start off with The Suffocating Silence which is quite progressive and let me think for a moment of bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X, but after a break they are less progressive and more guitar-driven. Guitar-riffs drive them and on top the voice of Ray Alder. Complex drum beats, spherical keyboard sounds at one time and after a break melodic parts. The relaxed vocals of Ray Alder often build the counter-part to the complex, fast and driven music. Okay, sometimes the instrumental parts are a bit too long in my opinion, but anyway the quintet manages to create their own sound. On Bleed Me Dry the vocal line partly reminds me of ELP... Alder's vocals are art rock influenced on this album while the band is based in progressive power metal with some symphonic keyboard parts. Memories starts slowly... You hear the wind... and some piano... Synthesizer and throbbing bass... The song takes you on a journey - with good and sad memories. Some heavy riffs, then a catchy guitar melody. The song develops slowly, but that's okay for a more then 9 min. long one. Alder's voice is intriguing. A short piano piece only accompanied by Alder builds the bridge into the 'second' part of the album. Here Alder is at his best... Giving you goose-bumps! It's the title track which is the center of the album and connecting both parts. On the second half of the album they are a based a bit more in the melodic metal genre, but still with progressive elements. Not as heavy as the first tracks in Man Of Glass. A melodic mid-tempo tune is Blind My Eyes - and quite sad. But sometimes a spark of hope shines. But the instrumental part late in the song is taking away some beauty. I think without this short trip it would have been much stronger. They push the accelerator down with Used To Be.
Lyrically the songs deal with daily problems, with emotions many can't express and with relationships going wrong which adds a sad note to the songs, but also gives Alder much space to express feelings.

On the Japanese version you can find a cover of the Tori Amos song Precious Things. Unfortunately I don't have the Japanese version, but it sounds very interesting.

A more then decent progressive power metal album with one of the best prog metal singers. So if you like progressive metal with some power, get yourself a copy!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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